Following yet another shooting of an African American man — Jacob Blake — at the hands of a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their Game 5 matchup against. the Orlando Magic.
The shooting of Blake, who reportedly survived the incident, had been a significant point of discussion over the course of the week.
NBA players and staff, from Bucks guard George Hill to Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, have given powerful statements about the horrible incident in Wisconsin. It became clear on Tuesday that boycotting would become a serious option for teams, with the Bucks and Toronto Raptors leading the way.
The National Basketball Players’ Association were in discussion with the league and the players about the pros and cons of this historic decision, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The NBA Players Association executive committee is in active discussions with players who are seeking guidance on the logistics of potentially boycotting games, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Players began reaching out to the committee in recent days, sharing that they’re not in the right frame of mind to play basketball, sources said. The union’s approach is to educate players on the pros and cons of boycotting games and reassuring them that they would be supported regardless of whatever they decide to do, sources said.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel spoke about the discussions he had with his team regarding the shooting of Blake. “We talked about in film [Tuesday] morning,” Vogel said.
“It was really me addressing it to our team. The message was along the lines of obviously it’s disheartening and disturbing for all of us.
“It’s difficult to digest and then go play a game, but it’s OK to align our goals here with regard to we’re here to compete for a championship. The further we advance in the playoffs, the bigger our platform to speak up on this, grows. I think it’s important for our guys to understand that.”
This conversation is very similar to the ones players had prior to entering the Walt Disney World bubble. And while this is such a nuanced discussion with so many reverberating effects, there is no doubt that the Bucks decision is historic and one that they have every right to exercise.
The status of the two remaining games on Wednesday, including Game 5 the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, have yet to be decided.
Kyle Kuzma responds to George Hill’s statement on returning to play
Hill has been one of the league’s most outspoken players in the last few days following the Blake shooting.
Kuzma responded to Hill’s statement that he might regret entering the bubble in the first place. “I respect George for saying that. Everyone has their own opinion and everyone is entitled to that. But at the same time, playing basketball, that’s our jobs. It’s what we have to do. It’s how we make our income, that’s how we continue to make this league work.”